Southern Season Failure

Status
Not open for further replies.

Deepgreen

Established Member
Joined
12 Jun 2013
Messages
4,885
Location
Betchworth, Surrey
For the last four years, I have had an annual season ticket from Dorking stations to London termini, valid via two routes - GW to Redhill then Southern to London, or Southern/SWT via Epsom. Both of these routes obviously include Clapham Junction. The ticket is purchased at Dorking (my nearest station with a ticket office) and is therefore issued by Southern.

Also for the past four years, my ticket has failed to operate the gates at Clapham Junction and several other intermediate stations on both routes (including Redhill until a year or so ago) where the ticket is valid. I use Clapham Junction and other intermediate stations infrequently for exit/entry, but enough to find the failure annoying (and time-consuming at Clapham, where there are usually queues of passengers trying to explain/listen to staff why their tickets won't work the gates!).

I have complained about this to Southern on many occasions over the last four years, who appear to be at a loss to explain or solve the problem. They claim to have talked to SWT (who operate Clapham Junction) to no avail, and I now find that they have also lost the previous e-mail streams between us!

I find it incredible how difficult it seems to be to explain the problem to me, and to fix it. Losing the many e-mails on the subject also seems incompetent at best.

Do any of the ticketing experts here have any ideas what the issue may be (and why Southern can't/won't tackle it)?
 
Last edited:
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

James Wake

Member
Joined
30 Aug 2013
Messages
918
It is probably due to the programming of the barriers, I have a Haywards Heath-Zones 2-6 AAA Crawley annual travelcard season. It never works the barriers at Crawley, despite being valid there by the AAA allowance. It works fine at Haywards Heath, Three Bridges, Gatwick, Redhill, East Croydon, Clapham Junction, Twickenham, New Cross Gate to name a few stations I've used with it.
 

Deepgreen

Established Member
Joined
12 Jun 2013
Messages
4,885
Location
Betchworth, Surrey
It is probably due to the programming of the barriers, I have a Haywards Heath-Zones 2-6 AAA Crawley annual travelcard season. It never works the barriers at Crawley, despite being valid there by the AAA allowance. It works fine at Haywards Heath, Three Bridges, Gatwick, Redhill, East Croydon, Clapham Junction, Twickenham, New Cross Gate to name a few stations I've used with it.

Yes - that is what I had suggested to Southern, but they seem unable to confirm it. My issue isn't even an AAA one - it's straightforward basic route validity.
 

kieron

Established Member
Joined
22 Mar 2012
Messages
2,606
Location
Connah's Quay
Do you happen to know if a Dorking-Clapham Junction ticket would work whichever barrier you normally use in London?
 

Haywain

Established Member
Joined
3 Feb 2013
Messages
5,584
To be able to give any realistic answers about why the ticket doesn't work various barriers we would need to know the error codes that are shown on the gate when it is rejected. This is just below (I think) where the comment "Seek assistance" appears. Two digit codes always refer to problems with the coding on paper tickets, three digit codes point to other problems.
 

James Wake

Member
Joined
30 Aug 2013
Messages
918
To be able to give any realistic answers about why the ticket doesn't work various barriers we would need to know the error codes that are shown on the gate when it is rejected. This is just below (I think) where the comment "Seek assistance" appears. Two digit codes always refer to problems with the coding on paper tickets, three digit codes point to other problems.

My code at Crawley tends to be 116.
 

Deepgreen

Established Member
Joined
12 Jun 2013
Messages
4,885
Location
Betchworth, Surrey
To be able to give any realistic answers about why the ticket doesn't work various barriers we would need to know the error codes that are shown on the gate when it is rejected. This is just below (I think) where the comment "Seek assistance" appears. Two digit codes always refer to problems with the coding on paper tickets, three digit codes point to other problems.

Next time it is rejected I will note the code. Thanks. I wonder why Southern couldn't have suggested this - at least it would possibly have moved things along a little!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Do you happen to know if a Dorking-Clapham Junction ticket would work whichever barrier you normally use in London?

No I don't I'm afraid - I have only ever had a ticket to London termini.
 

Haywain

Established Member
Joined
3 Feb 2013
Messages
5,584
My code at Crawley tends to be 116.
That code is described as "Station not listed for entry or exit". That means that Crawley is not programmed as being a valid entry point for Hayward's Heath tickets. The route makes the ticket valid, but I am not sure how it would be programmed because you can't have the route accepted without the origin or destination.
 

paul1609

Established Member
Joined
28 Jan 2006
Messages
4,603
Location
Wittersham Kent
That's quite surprising the route Barnham tickets seem to work the barriers everywhere, even places where it's validity is questionable
 

talldave

Established Member
Joined
24 Jan 2013
Messages
1,957
Next time it is rejected I will note the code. Thanks. I wonder why Southern couldn't have suggested this - at least it would possibly have moved things along a little!

I know I never have anything positive to say about Southern/GTR but you're really going to have problems finding anyone to take ownership of this issue within Southern. Sadly it appears to be the case that they have major problems grasping even the simplest of issues, never mind doing anything about them. In this case, you're possibly dealing with another TOC's barriers' reaction to a Southern ticket - so not only would they have to understand the issue, but they'd then have to interact with another TOC to resolve the problem.

Unless you can get it escalated to their "VIP" team, I don't think it'll ever get resolved. (You'll know when you've reached the VIP team by virtue of their email address).
 

bubieyehyeh

Member
Joined
25 Feb 2016
Messages
230
I had a similar problem with my old season ticket.

I kept trying to get Southern to fix the same problem at Gatwick, but got nowhere emailling them, but it eventually got fixed. I can't be sure but timing suggests it might have been a helpful staff member who opened the gate for me one day, took a interest and said they would escalate it for me. A few weeks later my ticket worked the barriers, which was a great time saver since I had waited for more than 5mins to get someone to open a barrier, due to the the number of tourists.

I never did get my ticket to work at Three Bridges however. I just gave up on that one since the queue was never very long.
 

bb21

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Global Moderator
Joined
4 Feb 2010
Messages
23,978
Break of journeys cannot always be catered for.
 

Deepgreen

Established Member
Joined
12 Jun 2013
Messages
4,885
Location
Betchworth, Surrey
I know I never have anything positive to say about Southern/GTR but you're really going to have problems finding anyone to take ownership of this issue within Southern. Sadly it appears to be the case that they have major problems grasping even the simplest of issues, never mind doing anything about them. In this case, you're possibly dealing with another TOC's barriers' reaction to a Southern ticket - so not only would they have to understand the issue, but they'd then have to interact with another TOC to resolve the problem.

Unless you can get it escalated to their "VIP" team, I don't think it'll ever get resolved. (You'll know when you've reached the VIP team by virtue of their email address).

I agree. The VIP team is no more (or at least the e-mail address is defunct) as I have recently tried that route after denting my head against their Customer Services brick wall. Some of the ticket rejections were at Southern's own stations (Redhill and East Croydon, for example).

Meanwhile, I have paid for a Southern product that is not fit for purpose. 'Twas ever thus.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Break of journeys cannot always be catered for.

Clapham Junction is operated by SWT and the ticket is valid on their services, so a revenue split must be in place for the ticket between Southern and SWT. It is in the ticket's normal validity and is not even an alternative ('emergency') route validity. Are there no other situations where more than one TOC is involved in a ticket's validity with breaks of journey? Are TOCs at liberty to ignore such matters because the railway is now so fragmented? In any case, my ticket has been rejected at East Croydon and Redhill among others - can Southern not even cater for breaks of journeys within its own TOC at its own very major stations?!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Have you tried speaking to SWT as it is their station and their barriers? They *might* be a little more helpful.

I have copied SWT in on some of my e-mails, but it is Southern who sold me the ticket so I have taken my complaints primarily to them.
 
Last edited:

bb21

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Global Moderator
Joined
4 Feb 2010
Messages
23,978
Clapham Junction is operated by SWT and the ticket is valid on their services, so a revenue split must be in place for the ticket between Southern and SWT. It is in the ticket's normal validity and is not even an alternative ('emergency') route validity. Are there no other situations where more than one TOC is involved in a ticket's validity with breaks of journey? Are TOCs at liberty to ignore such matters because the railway is now so fragmented? In any case, my ticket has been rejected at East Croydon and Redhill among others - can Southern not even cater for breaks of journeys within its own TOC at its own very major stations?!

Because it is impossible to programme all the permutations of ticket validities into the gatelines. How many people actually break their journeys there on a Dorking to London ticket?

I suspect that if enough people with Dorking tickets complain, something might get done.
 

Deepgreen

Established Member
Joined
12 Jun 2013
Messages
4,885
Location
Betchworth, Surrey
Because it is impossible to programme all the permutations of ticket validities into the gatelines. How many people actually break their journeys there on a Dorking to London ticket?

I suspect that if enough people with Dorking tickets complain, something might get done.

I imagine that a significant number of passengers would break journeys at Clapham Junction - it is a natural interchange point for Victoria/Waterloo options and, while doing so, offers the chance to buy food/drink, etc., quickly just outside the gate line. As things stand, my ticket is almost illegible only three months into its validity so gateline staff have trouble checking it. I am not prepared to keep renewing it every couple of months (most of the times that I travel through Dorking, the office is closed anyway!), when it remains perfectly vaild.

In any case, while every possible permutation may not be possible, I would expect major stations such as Redhill, East Croydon and Clapham Junction to be included. My ticket works at Epsom, which is less busy that all these three - why has that been included but not the busier three?

Furthermore, part of my annoyance with Southern is that they can't/won't give me a straight answer on the issue.
 

OwlMan

Established Member
Joined
25 Jun 2008
Messages
3,206
Location
Bedworth, Warwickshire
I imagine that a significant number of passengers would break journeys at Clapham Junction - it is a natural interchange point for Victoria/Waterloo options and, while doing so, offers the chance to buy food/drink, etc., quickly just outside the gate line. As things stand, my ticket is almost illegible only three months into its validity so gateline staff have trouble checking it. I am not prepared to keep renewing it every couple of months (most of the times that I travel through Dorking, the office is closed anyway!), when it remains perfectly vaild.

In any case, while every possible permutation may not be possible, I would expect major stations such as Redhill, East Croydon and Clapham Junction to be included. My ticket works at Epsom, which is less busy that all these three - why has that been included but not the busier three?

Furthermore, part of my annoyance with Southern is that they can't/won't give me a straight answer on the issue.

It is not the ticket that determines whether a break of journey will let you through the barriers - it is what is loaded into the barrier.

To enable aticket to open the barrier the destination & origin of that ticket need to be input into the barriers memory, due the restricted memory only the most popular combinations are added (there are thousands of combinations valis via Clapham Junction)
 
Last edited:

Deepgreen

Established Member
Joined
12 Jun 2013
Messages
4,885
Location
Betchworth, Surrey
It is not the ticket that determines whether a break of journey will let you through the barriers - it is what is loaded into the barrier.

To enable aticket to open the barrier the destination & origin of that ticket need to be input into the barriers memory, due the restricted memory only the most popular combinations are added.

I realise that, but I would imagine that Clapham Junction and East Croydon would be more likely to have Dorking in their barrier codings than, say, Selhurst (where the ticket does work).
 

talldave

Established Member
Joined
24 Jan 2013
Messages
1,957
It is not the ticket that determines whether a break of journey will let you through the barriers - it is what is loaded into the barrier.

To enable aticket to open the barrier the destination & origin of that ticket need to be input into the barriers memory, due the restricted memory only the most popular combinations are added (there are thousands of combinations valis via Clapham Junction)

Is the data in the barrier or the control box that manages a number of barriers? The amount of data we're talking about is not exactly massive in this day and age. If all the barriers are managed by the control box, then I would expect it to be able to cope with a significant amount of data.

Surely the problem is that nobody can be arsed to create the data??
 

hounddog

Member
Joined
4 Mar 2014
Messages
276
Because it is impossible to programme all the permutations of ticket validities into the gatelines.

Laborious, maybe. Impossible, no. If ticket-selling websites can be programmed with the information so can other railway systems.
 

swt_passenger

Veteran Member
Joined
7 Apr 2010
Messages
25,122
Laborious, maybe. Impossible, no. If ticket-selling websites can be programmed with the information so can other railway systems.

Ticket barriers are not online 'railway systems' though, and they don't have unlimited memory or processing power sufficient to work anything out on the fly - it's why this forum has dozens of threads about barriers not allowing break of journey, or getting restrictions wrong, etc etc...

Various updates to allow Oyster or ITSO reading may have to be networked to allow some sort of real time processing, but I'd be willing to bet similar updates have never been done on the mag stripe side.

It's probably a fairly reasonable suggestion that they should be online devices - but they aren't yet.
 

maniacmartin

Established Member
Associate Staff
Senior Fares Advisor
Joined
15 May 2012
Messages
5,223
Location
Croydon
I realise that, but I would imagine that Clapham Junction and East Croydon would be more likely to have Dorking in their barrier codings than, say, Selhurst (where the ticket does work).

I would imagine it to be the other way round. As more tickets are valid via Clapham Junction, it is more likely that other flows exist that have been deemed more popular at CLJ and have been given priority in the limited gate memory.

I think it's unfair to blame Southern for this, given they don't operate CLJ. Also given that the OP even admits to only breaking journey here occasionally I would just use the manned gate and not waste any more energy chasing this up further
 

Deepgreen

Established Member
Joined
12 Jun 2013
Messages
4,885
Location
Betchworth, Surrey
I would imagine it to be the other way round. As more tickets are valid via Clapham Junction, it is more likely that other flows exist that have been deemed more popular at CLJ and have been given priority in the limited gate memory.

I think it's unfair to blame Southern for this, given they don't operate CLJ. Also given that the OP even admits to only breaking journey here occasionally I would just use the manned gate and not waste any more energy chasing this up further

As I have already mentioned, using the manned gate would be OK except that the ticket wears out so quickly that it is usually nearly or completely illegible, making it hard for barrier staff to determine its validity. To renew it I have to go to Dorking, which is my nearest manned station, and where the office is usually closed on the occasions when I travel that way. At Clapham Junction in particular, the queues for the manned gates are often significant with associated delays while barrier staff try to sort out the various problems with passengers' tickets not operating the gates. East Croydon is operated by Southern, and the same applies there.
As I have also said, I do blame Southern for failing to provide a straightforward, helpful answer to the query (and almost all other queries) after several years of trying!
It's also worth mentioning that, as a passenger ('customer'), it should be of no concern to me who operates a particular station at which my ticket is vaild; my query is directed towards the company that sold me the ticket and the vagaries of the railway management structure 'behind the scenes' should be irrelevant to me. Much though I realise that there are not exact parallels between the railways and a retail operating scenario, if I bought a product in a shop that didn't work properly, I would not expect to have to either 'lump it' or take my complaint to a sub-contractor who provided the faulty components in the product - I would go back to the shop/company that sold it to me.
 
Last edited:

Tetchytyke

Veteran Member
Joined
12 Sep 2013
Messages
11,616
Location
Isle of Man
As I have already mentioned, using the manned gate would be OK except that the ticket wears out so quickly that it is usually nearly or completely illegible, making it hard for barrier staff to determine its validity

A ticket that is illegible is not valid for travel, so you need to get it replaced anyway?

Much though I realise that there are not exact parallels between the railways and a retail operating scenario, if I bought a product in a shop that didn't work properly

A ticket is merely a token that provides evidence you have paid for the service. The service is what you are paying for.
 
Last edited:

Deepgreen

Established Member
Joined
12 Jun 2013
Messages
4,885
Location
Betchworth, Surrey
A ticket that is illegible is not valid for travel, so you need to get it replaced anyway?



A ticket is merely a token that provides evidence you have paid for the service. The service is what you are paying for.

I do replace it when I can but it's impractical to do it as often as necessary to keep it clearly-legible. I don't understand why some TOCs' tickets seem to wear out so quickly and others' do not - Southern's are terrible and, for example, GWR's seem to be more robust (comparing colleagues' season tickets of virtually the same age that are all used through ticket gates daily).

As I said, the parallels are not exact, but, as the ticket is what provides access to the train service, I consider it and its functionality to be a part of the service. Notwithstanding the railway's exact definition of what the ticket actually represents, I suspect the average passenger would regard it as I do.
 

maniacmartin

Established Member
Associate Staff
Senior Fares Advisor
Joined
15 May 2012
Messages
5,223
Location
Croydon
It may interest you to know that I got a Gold card season ticket replacement at East Croydon last night, and the stock used was much thicker than my previous Southern-issued original season.
 

Deepgreen

Established Member
Joined
12 Jun 2013
Messages
4,885
Location
Betchworth, Surrey
It may interest you to know that I got a Gold card season ticket replacement at East Croydon last night, and the stock used was much thicker than my previous Southern-issued original season.

Indeed - but what of the ink? The card/paper of my annual ticket is reasonably intact, but the printing has all but gone (after three months). It's also relevant that, as I travel from Betchworth (un-gated), I only put my ticket through gates twice a day rather than the four or more times that many do, and it has still only lasted this short a time.
 

jon0844

Veteran Member
Joined
1 Feb 2009
Messages
24,747
Location
UK
Unless you can get it escalated to their "VIP" team, I don't think it'll ever get resolved. (You'll know when you've reached the VIP team by virtue of their email address).

Is that VIP as in Very Important Problem?
 

Haywain

Established Member
Joined
3 Feb 2013
Messages
5,584
Indeed - but what of the ink? The card/paper of my annual ticket is reasonably intact, but the printing has all but gone (after three months). It's also relevant that, as I travel from Betchworth (un-gated), I only put my ticket through gates twice a day rather than the four or more times that many do, and it has still only lasted this short a time.
There is no ink, as modern (!) tickets use thermal printing. However, this can wear off and fade.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top